CrossFit: Do you have to train at high intensity?


CrossFit consists of performing a circuit of exercises. The session of the day is called “Workout Of The Day” or “WOD” and is practiced in a “box” (room CrossFit). Developed in the 70s by a former American gymnast, Greg Glassman, he continues to develop in France since 2011.

” This method is associated with a sense of community, satisfaction, and motivation,” says CrossFit Overview: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. This was conducted by Dr. João Gustavo Claudino, Professor of Sports Science and Physical Activity at the University of São Paulo in 2018.

This research has also shown that CrossFit is one of the most high-intensity functional training that was spreading fastest. indicates that there are currently more than 10,000 boxes worldwide, including 478 in France.

Three types of intensity

” In CrossFit, the intensity is determined by three factors: the weight of the load, the speed of execution and the knowledge of the movement “, explains Julian Festor, operator of the Reebok Crossfit Louvre. These three criteria allow the coach to adjust the exercises according to each person’s abilities. ” We’re talking about relative intensity,” he says. In this way, the same session can be adapted to everyone. 

CrossFit can be practiced from childhood. The Reebok Crossfit in Bordeaux offers courses from the age of five. ” These classes are fun and aim to get the kids moving. “Even though the average age of CrossFit rooms is 35/40, according to Julian Festor, the Reebok rooms welcome members who are up to 70 years old.

” The same exercise will be as intense for a 20-year-old practitioner as it is for a senior. The intensity factors are adapted to each, to allow the person to spend themselves safely, “explains Julian Factor.

Unprepared practitioners

In theory, these adaptations avoid the risk of injury. CrossFit sessions are open to people of varying ages and levels, but there is a concern: ” Not everyone is aware of their own physical abilities,” says a sports doctor at Jouvenet Clinic.

” To avoid the risks, one should test fitness courses at lower intensity before starting CrossFit, advises the doctor. This would help to know his abilities. The intensity of this method is not necessarily bad. ” There are just too many people starting out unprepared, or adapting their exercises to what others are doing,” he adds.

No proven risks

The study of Dr. Claudino, a professor of sports science at the University of São Paulo, did not show any particular risks. Beyond the motivational spirit of CrossFit, she has not identified other benefits over other training methods, such as aerobic classes. The variances between the subjects of the study and the teaching have prevented for the moment to find more important results.


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